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University 101: A course of misdirection

Another university year is beginning, so post-secondary students areabout to learn important “life lessons” that will stay with them longafter they’ve forgotten what Pi is (it’s a number).

Another university year is beginning, so post-secondary students are about to learn important “life lessons” that will stay with them long after they’ve forgotten what Pi is (it’s a number).

So that I might save you from the high cost of tuition, books, and 55 metric tonnes of Mr. Noodles, here they are:

Condoms are king: Welcome to university, the only organization that gets away with putting a prophylactic in its orientation kit. This would be less well received at, say, Microsoft. Nary a frosh week organizer will pass up the opportunity to offer you a free condom. “Hi, I’m the leader of the Fundamentalist Christian Fellowship,” they’ll say. “Would you like a Trojan?”

High school has not prepared you: Real university preparation courses would only upset parents, because they would have names like, “101 things to do with your surplus condoms” and “Beggars CAN be choosers: Getting the most from your local soup kitchen.”

No one cares about you: In Grade 12, your teacher listened patiently as you explained your poor mark was because the exchange student, Olaf Gooberson, rejected your advances. In university, your professor will sympathize with you only in select circumstances, such as if you are actively dead. Even then, she’ll expect a doctor’s note.

Textbooks are not your friend: The average university textbook weighs more than the average student, and that weight is both physical and emotional. For many of you, this purchase will be the first time you’ve ever gone into a store with a big wad of money, paid for something that was still in its plastic wrap, and not felt good about it. Fortunately they’re a good value because humans are genetically incapable of throwing away textbooks, which will live on as doorstops and window jams until you die.

Students are (very) amateur philosophers: Like a 10-year-old who learns a new swear word, many university students learn a few simple philosophical concepts and can’t stop spouting them. For instance, you will hear “How do I know anything is real?” multiple times. If you hear anybody say that, slap them. If they complain, explain that the pain is not real, but rather a byproduct of humanity’s inability to perceive time. Then hit them again. For me.

University is just another step: When I was graduating, choosing community college over university was seen by teachers as a career move only slightly better than holding up a convenience store. Between the hype and the price, university no doubt seems like the be-all and end-all. But it’s not.

The important thing to remember is, no matter how you do, and no matter what happens over the next four years, you will never, ever run out of condoms, obsolete textbooks, or tired philosophical catchphrases.

Some people also collect memories and knowledge, if you’re into that sort of thing.

 
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